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There was also the added perk of providing some freight business.As interubans expanded they did indeed initially prove popular offering quick service, multiple schedules daily (the large Illinois Traction system, for instance, was dispatching 106 trains out of Springfield, Illinois everyday by 1906), and with fares only a few cents each way.29" issued January 1, 1948 the entire Belt Line ran from Milepost 90.7 at Bay View, Maryland to Milepost 97.9 at Hamburg Street, Baltimore).There were three great periods of interurban development; the first occurred during the 1890's and then reached a great flurry of construction between 19 when more than 5,000 miles were laid down.In the scene, captured by Scott Hartley, Claremont & Concord 44-tonner #31 totes a single boxcar along the former interurban's rickety trackage skirting State Route 103 at West Claremont, New Hampshire during October of 1976.It seems surreal that a train could actually fit on such a narrow patch of right-of-way where a railroad doesn't even appear to exist!In 1889 there were just 7 miles of interurbans in service, a number which jumped to 3,122 by 1901, and finally peaked at 15,580 in 1916.These numbers slowly receded into the 1920's as abandonment hastened through the 1930's.
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As these technologies found their way to the United States the first examples appeared in the 1880's; in 1880 Thomas Edison tested an experimental electric locomotive, powered by a dynamo, which was operated on a stretch of track in Menlo Park, New Jersey. George Hilton and John Due's authoritative piece, "," points out the birth of the true American interurban began when Frank Sprague developed an electric motorcar in 1886 for the New York Elevated Railway whereby the motor(s) were situated between the axle, along with a trolley pole and multiple-unit control stand.
This gave way to the typical streetcar which became such a common sight throughout America.
Sprague failed to interest the New York Elevated but others were impressed.
He eventually secured a contract in May of 1887 with the Richmond Union Passenger Railway in Virginia to provide cars for its operation. Brill Company Jewett Car Company Niles Car & Manufacturing Company St.